Can convicted politicians head parties once they are disqualified? SC to examine
Convicted politicians such as AIADMK leaders Sasikala Natrajan and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav are heading their respective political parties despite being in jail.india Updated: Mar 26, 2018 23:36 IST
The Supreme Court observed on Monday that the “purity of democracy” is eroded when convicted politicians are allowed to hold political party posts and choose candidates for elections.
“A person who is convicted and disqualified; Can that person form a political party or head the party? How is the purity of democracy maintained?” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra asked the Centre’s additional solicitor general Pinky Anand who opposed a public interest litigation (PIL) filed to bar convicted leaders from heading a political party.
“In a democracy, where purity of the process has to be maintained, persons who are disqualified from contesting, will they decide who will be the candidate?” the CJI asked. His comments were verbal and not part of any written order.
Convicted politicians such as AIADMK leaders Sasikala Natrajan and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav are heading their respective political parties despite being in jail.
Anand sought a dismissal of the PIL on the ground that every individual, under Article 19 of the constitution, is entitled to form his/her own association/organisation. She submitted that even a convicted lawmaker is not debarred for life from contesting.
“After six years of a disqualification period a lawmaker can again contest election. So there cannot be any ban on convicted politicians from holding party posts,” Anand said.
But the CJI said the court would examine the issue.
“Once they are debarred should they still hold office in a political party?” the CJI asked, posting the matter for a hearing on May 3.
In its affidavit, the centre through the Union Law Ministry had said the appointment of an office-holder of a political party is a matter of party autonomy.
“It may not be apposite to preclude the Election Commission from registering a political party merely because a particular post-holder is not qualified to contest elections,” the centre has said in its reply to the PIL.
First Published: Mar 26, 2018 23:12 IST